They are waiting for you, all of these little people, giggling in nervous anticipation. When you arrive, they point and whisper to one another. The kids know that Love Has No Color is coming on this day. It has been promised and this promise has been kept for 14 years. Kids we served years ago are now seeing the excitement in their children. Teachers all say the same thing; the kids wouldn’t miss this day for anything! Today is the day they’re going to receive their gifts, see the crazy LHNC group, and kick their holiday season off.
Kenny Smoker, the Tribal Health Program Specialist, always says that the LHNC visits to the Reservation are moving. Yes, the gifts are amazing and they are so grateful, but it’s your presence with the kids, the laughs, the playing, the hugs, love, and playing basketball together creates memories the kids will never forget.
These kids look up to the LHNC volunteers as role models. Few people, if any, recognize or understand the 3rd world living conditions these kids are currently enduring.
Love Has No Color does something about it.
One year there was a middle school kid whose mother died the week of Christmas on the Reservation.
This didn’t stop him from participating in the LHNC joy, even though he wasn’t feeling joyful. You could feel his anger as he played basketball with reckless behavior. Our group let him be and didn’t attempt to cheer him up, we just played hoop together. Almost like a universal language.
He played basketball, he was like a small Steph Curry, with a vigor and passion. He chose to come to school that day, receive his gift, and play basketball with the crazies from LHNC.
I hope that it helped lighten some of his sadness in his time of need. Life is hard at times on this Reservation and beyond.
These gifts, toys, and clothing are not merely seasonal offerings. They are symbols of something so much bigger…HOPE! They’ll stay with each child for a lifetime and they’ll spread this hope to others.
Some of the kids still have sneakers, boots, and coats even though they have long outgrown them. They keep them as a memory of being recognized as a child of God.
Sometimes they are at the foot of their bed, in the closet, or in their dreams.
This endeavor is not a one sided affair. Everyone who has a hand in making Christmas on the Reservation receives plenty. Seeing the smiles and surprise on their faces is replayed hundreds of times after the actual event through pictures, videos, and social media.
Each year, more and more people become part of the LHNC family and we are thankful our movement is growing.
Now we’re off to the Reservation! See you when we get back!